One of the things I wanted to do with this Moba Jones project was really use instruments that have managed to stick around in the studio. As a matter of fact, I've been consciously pursuing a collection of basses that allow me to get most, if not all, the sounds I have in my head that I might want access to in the heat of the moment as a tune is taking place.
One of my favorite types of tone is the thick bridge pickup sound that's super punchy yet still full enough to support a tune with authority. In the arsenal of Nordstrand pickups probably the ultimate tool in the box for that kind of tone is the BigMan.
A couple years back we started working with the BigMan quite a bit more, installing them in a few of our vM5 basses. Then somehow I got it in my head that a BigMan and a P pickup in one bass would be an incredible studio tool. So we made a vM5 and jammed those two pickups right up against each other, which put them as close as possible to their "correct" placement. The P is exact, the MM is about 1/16" towards the bridge from exact. This ended up being the Dan Lutz signature model. We've done a few more basses with that setup over the last several years, and at one point I decided I wanted to have that kind of tool in my arsenal.
So I went in the wood room and found this piece of solid quilted soft maple that a friend had scored for me from a local lumber yard:
It's pretty rare to get to do a solid quilted maple body blank. Especially to have the figure on the sides line up fairly well like they did here. I added a solid one piece maple neck and used a maple skunk stripe which almost disappeared and is pretty hard to see in the finished neck. I also made the neck a little thicker so it would have a deep and solid tone.
It worked great. We put a BigMan in the bridge spot and eventually ended up with a split 51P style pickup in the neck position. This idea took things even one step further towards making the bass super versatile with a slightly different character from the Lutz version. We also installed our new 2 band boost only preamp, which makes this bass even more absurdly versatile.
I haven't used the P tone in any tracks yet, and that's probably because I have some incredible basses (which I'll feature in this blog soon) that do that a little better than this one, but the BigMan setting is hard to stay away from.
You can hear this bass on Make Me and Feed On Me. I tracked it in passive mode with the BigMan soloed and the tone rolled back about 80% through a Warwick Hellborg preamp into a Universal Audio Apollo through a Neve 1073 Unison plugin.
To say I'm delighted with the sound of this bass would be an understatement. It's quite remarkable to have a sound in your head and then be able to fully achieve it in the studio. I love what I do for a living and I also love what I get to do in my spare time in the studio. It all ties together so wonderfully well.